Leslie McCullough comes to Washburn from San Antonio, Texas, to teach for her first year in the social work department. For the past 24 years, McCullough has been a psychotherapist at an equine facilitated psychotherapy business, working with horses and children. She was one of the first licensed social workers to become an equine psychotherapist in the field.
“I was originally going to be an art therapist, but then I discovered horses,” said McCullough, “It’s kind of like doll therapy, except they play with you.”
So far, her experience at Washburn has been a positive one.
“The people are very friendly and welcoming,” said McCullough. “The social work department made me feel at home when I came to interview here. Washburn is a comfortable place to be.”
She currently teaches four courses, two of which prepare social work majors for their practicum; and two others in practice skills, in how to talk to people. One of her favorite courses to teach is micro human sehavior and social environment, because it relates closest to her bachelor’s degree, only 21st century style.
“This course teaches about the mind, body and spirit and how each relate with our well-being,” said McCullough. “Social work is an art form. How you yourself present it is your art.”
She goes on to say there is much more to social work than some think.
“The general population doesn’t get the meaning of social work. It’s not just child protective services,” said McCullough. “You have to look at a person as a whole, not as a problem. Help them find a place, and give them the tools that they need.”
McCullough also teaches contemporary issues in social work, seminar and field practicum I, and social work practice I.
When not teaching, McCullough lives and breathes horse work, playing with her dog and cat, as well as riding around on her 2006 Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe.
“Kansas is very biker friendly,” said McCullough.
She recently joined the local Harley Owners Group, and rides every chance she gets.
McCullough is also an artist, and uses a wide variety of media such as watercolor, pen and ink, pencil, stained glass and sculpture. When she lived in Alaska for a year, she had the opportunity to do some scrimshaw, carving designs into bone.
“Only natives got to carve into ivory,” said McCullough.
What made McCullough choose social work is abundant: The good counteracts the bad. The paperwork and long hours make it well worth it.
“It’s like a calling. It teaches you to be grateful, especially the smaller things, and not to take them for granted. What you’re able to accomplish is profound.”
“Roll up your sleeves and prepare to work hard. It’s going to be an amazing ride,” said McCullough when asked what advice she would giver her students.